A. Fantalov

"The original Indo-European types of gods

(Materials of Conference dedicated Punin by St. Petersburg State University 2000).

For more detailed argumentation see: “Indo-European mythologies: genesis and evolution of characters.”



In terms of numerous artifacts findings author suggests to distinguish such original Indo-European mythological types as: 'The God of Thunder ' (Scandinavian Thor, Celt Taranis, Slav Perun, Balt Perkunas, Indian Indra); 'The God of Sky' (Indian Dyaus, Balt Dievas, Scandinavian Tyr); 'The Great Goddess' (Greek Hera, Indian Prithivi, Scandinavian Erd, Slav Mokos, Balt Zemes-mate, Ireland Danu); 'The Divine Twins' (Greek Dioskuri, Indian Asvinau, Balt Sons of Dievas), 'The God of Earth' (Greek Dionysus, Indian Rudra, Scandinavian Freyr, Slav Veles, Balt Vels, Celt Cernunnos) and 'The Cultural Hero' (Greek Hermes and Hercules, Scandinavian Odin, Slav Herovit, Celt Lugh). We can imagine that the male divinities form an original torn ring. These gods are connected with one another like the links of a chain. The characters of the Thunder God and the Sky God can merge (as in Greek mythology - Zeus); the Divine Twins are usually the Sky God’s sons (in Balt mythology - the Sons of Dievas); the Cultural Hero has got functions, similar to ones of the Twins (for instance: he is a physician, an ancestor and protector of people); the Earth God is closely connected with the Cultural Hero as they are season dying and reviving characters. And only the Thunder God and the Earth God fight with each other forming a break in the chain. It is known from Celtic, Baltic, Slav, Indian and many other mythologies.

The female divinity is in the inside of this ring, and she is a mediator between the male gods. The Great Goddess can be a wife of the Thunder God and at the same time a wife of the Earth God (as in Celtic, Slav and Baltic mythologies), or a wife of the Sky God (as in Italian, Greek, Indian traditions. Usually the Great Goddess is the mother of the Twins and the Cultural Hero. And all the later goddesses descended from her character.

We can see the characteristic features of these principal types. The Thunder god was represented as a man standing on a chariot, his weapons are lightning and an axe or a hammer, and his assistant is a wolf. The Sky God is often a war divinity; his weapon is a sword. The Cultural Hero is a rider; his weapon is spear as a rule. Those who believe, that the Thunder God is a rider are mistaken. The God of Earth is a protector of animal and the lord of Otherworld. Lastly, the Great Goddess has got a double nature, the earth one and the sky one.

Alex Fantalov.


Indo-European gods: genesis and evolution of characters

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Contact e-mail: fantalov@lycos.com